I have been a homeschool mom for thirteen years, the last eight of which I have been single, unfortunately, due to divorce. My grandmother on my mother’s side had an expression that, from my now fifty-plus-year-old perspective, imbues great wisdom in its simplicity. She simply stated “Life is great if you do not weaken.” As a single homeschool mom, these words come back to me daily. I believe her sage advice is appropriate for all—but especially those of us attempting the homeschool journey as a single parent. Her words are also biblically sound since basically she was drawing from her knowledge of the Bible that included Joshua 1:6-7, “Be strong and courageous because you will lead these people (children) to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous.” So, how do we travel this path and keep our sanity? First, and most importantly, with a great deal of faith and, per God’s charge to Joshua, being strong. That strength draws from having a strong relationship with God as the foundation of your service ministry to your children.
Our relationship with our Lord is crucial as a foundation because in every sense, homeschooling is a ministry we have chosen. In my personal opinion, it is the most important ministry we can be involved in at this time in both our lives and the lives of our children. And trust me when I say that the time is going to fly by. I currently have two in college, and it seems as if it was just yesterday that I was timidly beginning my adventure of homeschooling. If you doubt this is a ministry, take time to observe our today’s youth. An alarmingly high percentage of youth who attend the local church are leaving the faith by the time they reach college age. So, not only do we need that daily connected relationship for the wisdom, strength and comfort simply to conduct our daily lives, but we are biblically mandated to raise our children so that they will not leave the faith. It is a daunting task, but one God will readily honor and enable us to do.
We live in a society in which parents abdicate a great deal of parental authority to outside institutions. We, as homeschoolers, have taken back the education of our children many times after having observed the failure of the public school system. Any biblical teaching or reference was long ago removed from the system. In my school, biblical teaching is first! For us, the Bible is the foundation on which all else in our lives is built. This is why I press on; though admittedly there are many days when I just want to give up and search for that perfect private school. To be honest, I have searched for that perfect private school. It does not exist. I have found there is no ideal school, private or otherwise (yes, including mine). But, at the end of the day, no one cares more about my children than God and their own mother. Yes, I feel absolutely crazy some days, but those days are alternated with days that aren’t so crazy, and that can be downright wonderful! The relationship I have with my children is priceless, and it is our relationship with Christ as the head of our household that bears the eternal stamp.
Eleven years ago, we were in our first year of homeschooling when my husband passed away. I’m starting my tenth year as a single homeschooling mom, have graduated one and am in the home stretch with three years left in this journey. It’s a journey I never expected to take—neither homeschooling nor doing so as a single parent, but it is well worth the struggles! Our school motto and my personal Bible verse is Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” I think that goes right along with Joanne’s grandmother’s saying “We need to lean on Christ and trust Him to guide us in all things,” including our homeschooling. Yes, there are struggles and days we want to give up, but with God’s strength, we push on. The goal is in sight, and the rewards along the way keep us motivated! I’ve learned that there are some things that have to be let go of—a perfectly clean house, all of the trips I wanted to take with the kids and things we planned many years ago. What I’ve found instead is time to sit on my bed with my children and laugh, share and cry together—time to find joy in little accomplishments and peace from knowing that when they spread their wings they’ve been given faith that I hope will sustain them.
New ministry to single homeschool parents
Together, we want you to be encouraged and to know that you are not alone. We are stepping out in faith to begin a ministry to single homeschool parents. More information will be coming soon. We are in the process of creating a website that will provide not only emotional support and encouragement but also practical help and advice. Stay tuned!